Molecular evolution and phylogeography of kangaroo mice of the Mono Basin and the adjoining valley regions of California and Nevada.

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Have you ever wanted to explore a time long past? This study combines phylogeography and molecular evolution in order to unravel historical events pertaining to the dark kangaroo mouse (Microdipodops megacephalus) . In this study we focus on the genetic divergence of kangaroo mice around the Mono Basin and the adjoining valley regions of California and Nevada. There are two described subspecies of kangaroo mice of the Mono Basin which together represent a peripheral isolate of the species. The Mono Basin kangaroo mice are separated from the principle eastern and western distributional units of the species by more than 100 km of unsuitable habitat. Individuals were collected throughout the range of M. megacephalus including two Mono Basin populations, three eastern populations, three western populations, along with two individuals of the sister taxon Microdipodops pallidus . The approximately 600bp region of the 16s ribosomal region of the mitochondrial genome was amplified through PCR, directly sequenced, and edited, resulting in a 495bp alignment. This study of genetic variation supports research which maintains that the two subspecies around the Mono Basin appear be very similar genetically with identical haplotypes; hence there is no molecular support for sub-species differentiation among the Mono kangaroo mice. Our molecular phylogenetic analysis of characters suggests that the Mono Basin kangaroo mice share most recent co-ancestry with populations from the principle eastern distributional subunit of M. megacephalus .


John Hafner and Jens Franck




Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowship

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